If The Shoe Fits

He searched all over the house. Where had he left his favorite sneakers? He continued to look and slowly, a voice started to sound in his head.

“I am tired of tripping over these shoes,” his father bellowed, “Next time I do, I will nail them to the trees in the back yard.”

His mind raced, “Surely he couldn’t have. I worked all summer mowing lawns to earn the money to buy these sneakers because dad said l had to earn the money myself for expensive sneakers like that. And I did it – I feel like I now fit in. The other kids had actually started to talk to me. No, he couldn’t.”

He ran to the back door, “NO!”

His heart sank. There they were. In anger, he went and got a claw hammer and stomped out the back door. Just as he neared the first shoe, he saw her. She was so small – so pretty – so focused. And then he heard the faint sound of baby birds crying out to be fed. He could not help but marvel at the sense of love and caring this little feathered mother showed for her hungry babies. Back and forth she went until each little mouth was silenced. Then she settled over them – protecting them from the world that they would have to face on their own soon.

And slowly, he thought about how hard his parents have worked to put a roof over the heads of their children, food on the table, clothes on their backs. And he realized how he took it all for granted. Now, when he wanted to be really mad at his dad, he understood the lesson he was trying to teach. With that, he turned and walked away.

He was suddenly encouraged, “Guess I can shovel snow this winter to get some new shoes.”

Len Bernat
Len Bernat
LEN is a leader groomed by 20 years of molding and shaping by some of the finest leaders in the United States Marine Corps. Their guidance helped Len realize his full potential as he moved from an enlisted Marine to becoming an Officer of Marines. Len became known for being the leader who could turn any lackluster organization into a strong, functional unit. Upon his retirement, Len worked in several positions before finally starting a second career in governmental procurement. His experience and leadership skills enabled him to be recognized as the 2011 Governmental Procurement Officer of the Year for the Governmental Procurement Association of Georgia and opened doors for him to teach at many of the association’s conferences. Len was also called to the ministry and was ordained at Ashford Memorial Methodist Church in November of 1999. Today, Len is the Pastor of Maxeys Christian Church in Maxeys, Georgia. Len has been married to his wife, Hazel, for 36 years and they have three daughters, three grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren. Grab your copy of Len's new Book – Leadership Matters | Advice From A Career USMC Officer. Using his life experiences as examples, Len takes the eleven principles of leadership and the fourteen traits every leader should possess—which he learned during twenty years in the Marine Corps—and teaches the reader how he was molded and shaped by some of the best leaders the Corps had to offer.

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Larry Tyler

This is great Len. Storytelling at its best.

Susan Rooks

Lovely story, Len, with a lesson I would wish all our kids — no matter their age — would learn.

Bharat Mathur

An unmistakably relatable story, Len Sir, Thank You! Parents keen enough to inculcate the same sense of responsibility and pride in their children can do that a hundred different ways, if only they cared to look back at their own childhood first. It helps us gauge what goes on in our children’s mind when they face a dilemma, no matter how trivial.

Your wisdom knows no bounds, and that’s one of the primary reasons I consider myself fortunate to be here, partaking of the same in abundance.

Thanks once again, with warm regards!

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